When you think of Jeff Koons, his towering sculptures inspired by balloon animals or works from his Banality series probably come to mind.
Consistently on the list of one of the “most expensive living artists,” Jeff Koons work isn’t exactly accessible to the everyday art collector with one of his pieces auctioned at the record price of $58.4 million. But what if we told you that you can now buy a Koons for only $585? And for $4,000 you can own a Koons and a Louis Vuitton bag in one.
This “affordable” Koons is an accessory shaped like an inflatable bunny designed by Koons for Louis Vuitton’s new line of handbags that include everything from key chains to laptop sleeves and wallets.
Master of Desire and Banality
Called The Masters, the 51-piece collection has high-definition reproductions of some of the most famous paintings in art history. These include Rubens’s The Tiger Hunt, the Mona Lisa, and Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses, all of which have been hand-painted in detail on some of Vuitton’s classic leather bag designs.
Think of the Louis Vuitton Masters bags as extensions of Koons 2015 Gazing Ball series where he reproduced masterpieces like the Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’Herbe and Titian’s Venus and Mars. Only this time, not only are these works of art are accessible copies of old masters to anyone who can afford an authentic LV, but you can carry it around and show off your taste for fine art and connoisseurship. Who wouldn’t want that?
Koons tells Vogue UK, “”What’s wonderful about working with Louis Vuitton is that there really aren’t parameters. When they come and speak to you about a project, everybody already has an understanding of what the possibilities are to create something special. We both had the same objective: we wanted to make something that really uses material, texture and colour to communicate and create something desirable. So there was tremendous freedom.”
Art and Commerce: Highs and High Streets
Each bag from The Masters collection which landed on April 28, 2017 comes with a tag of an inflatable rabbit, making it more identifiable as a Jeff Koon’s design. But more notably, Louis Vuitton has for the first time in its history allowed their famous logo to be reshaped into a monogram bearing Jeff Koon’s initials.
Jeff Koons happily told The New York Times, “Working on this, I felt a sense of my own potential, and the sharing of that with a large community.”
“It’s a great platform for communication!” he said. “I can put my work on the street!”
Understandably, the reactions have been mixed. There are those who have always been the biggest critics of Jeff Koons to begin with, for blithely replicating the works of great master artists. And plastering them on high street consumer goods such as luxury designer handbags, only seems to add insult to injury to true art lovers.